Ask The Dog Walker: Dog Lies Down on Walks

My dog throws himself to the ground and refuses to move on. What do I do?

By | Posted: November 14, 2014, 10 a.m. PST

As a professional dog walker, I have seen it all. If you don't believe me, check out the rest of my blog.

My vet calls me, the vet who didn’t go to vet school and my friend, a certified trainer, jokes after 20 years of dog walking, I earned my training certification. I encourage humor and empathy when it pertains to our beloved pets. It is annoying when Bentley throws himself to the ground, refusing to move, making me late to pick up the kids from school.  Laughter helps continue my love for that bad dog of mine.  Finding amusement alleviates aggravation and if that fails read the book, Marley and Me, which makes everyone feel better about their dog. The goal for "Ask the Dog Walker” is to answer questions with merriment combined with practical advice from personal experience as a dog walker.  

For our first "Ask the Dog Walker" we are tackling a common issue, so if this happens to you, know that you are not alone. 

dog on the ground 

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Terri Charlton writes: "My dog stops and uses his weight against me when he wants to meet another dog or person.  He will drop to the ground and go dead weight.  He is 110 pounds”

Dear Terri,

This is a problem I am all too familiar with. My Golden Retriever Bentley hurls himself to the ground, rolling on his back. Dead weight too, as I drag him along on his back. I also walk a Labrador who flings himself to the pavement in protest when we arrive at his home. What worked for both dogs is a trigger for something they LOVE!  

Bentley, my Golden, is ball obsessed. When he throws himself to the dirt, I offer a tennis ball which motivates him to jump up, grab the ball and trot on. The lab prompts are treats. Not the generic treats but cheese or hot dog bits from our refrigerator. When he spots those, he leaps to his feet forgetting why he threw himself to the ground in the first place. Finding what captures your dog’s attention, whether it is a tennis ball, cheese or hot dogs or a squeaky toy is the ticket.  

However, if you need a date for the night,  then a dog who throws himself to the sidewalk can be productive, often attracting attention of passerby. What drives you crazy is adorable to everyone else.  If you’re not single, loan out your dog as the date magnet.  Most people can’t resist a big dog lying at their feet and the ones who can you don’t want to meet anyway. 

As with anything, if this is a new or odd behavior for your dog, ask your vet. If your dog is tired from a walk versus just having a good time/trying to push your buttons, there may be an underlying health concern. 

It is important to remember there is no perfect person or dog. Embrace the flaws, short comings of each dog with laughter, sympathy and understanding.  Have questions about your own dog or want to hear anything specific about dog walking, send your inquiries to

Follow Lisa @BarkSideLisa

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Lauren   Lincolnshire, International

6/23/2016 11:07:06 AM

My dog tends to lay down on walks, its got worse over a week or so and we not can't get out of our door step with out him sitting or laying down, we have tried treats and good encouragement but it doesn't seem to be working. Any help??

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Autum - 297511   Caldwell, ID

4/17/2015 4:07:01 PM

My friend has a dog that does this; I'll have to pass this article on to him!

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DCWebEditor   Irvine, California

11/19/2014 10:16:36 AM

@Marg- Thank you for the comment. We've added some additional information to help clarify. It's always a good idea to check with your vet when a new or unusual behavior appears!

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